Bishop Olson responds to Supreme Court’s overturn of Roe in anticipated Dobbs decision

by Carol Zimmermann

Catholic News Service


so happy you're cryingso happy they cry

Pro-life demonstrators in Washington celebrate outside the Supreme Court June 24, 2022, as the court overruled the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion decision in its ruling in the Dobbs case on a Mississippi law banning most abortions after 15 weeks. (CNS photo/Evelyn Hockstein, Reuters)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article has been updated with NTC staff reporting.

WASHINGTON (CNS) — In a 5-4 decision June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned its nearly 50-year-old decision in Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion in this country.

The court’s 213-page ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was not totally unexpected due to the leak of an opinion draft a month earlier. The ruling emphasizes that there is no constitutional right to abortion in the United States.

Fort Worth Bishop Michael Olson issued a statement, which said, “This decision overturns the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and effectively closes a shameful period in American history that witnessed the evil and legalized killing of 60 million unborn babies throughout the United States of America.

“While the Catholic Church in the United States, the faithful of the Diocese of Fort Worth, other men and women of good will, and I have prayed and worked diligently for this day to arrive, we must thank God and acknowledge that this decision does not end our work for unborn children and their mothers and fathers. We must be mindful that at the heart of our prayers and labor is not the changing of law but the conversion of hearts — including our own — towards greater gratitude, respect, and love for each human person,” the bishop continued.

Bishop Olson emphasized the need for the faithful to “redouble our efforts to serve expectant mothers who are in duress and to promote the care and support for the prenatal and early development of their children” through parishes and pro-life apostolates in the diocese.

His statement was accompanied by a fact sheet from the Respect Life Office of the Diocese of Fort Worth. The diocese offers several resources for mothers and fathers in crisis pregnancies through early childhood, including pro-life pregnancy and family resource centers and Gabriel Project, in which a mother is supported with material, emotional, and spiritual assistance.

The Dobbs case focused on an abortion clinic in Mississippi opposed to the state’s law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

The court’s reversal of its longstanding abortion ruling brings abortion policy decisions to the state level. At least half of states plan to ban or restrict abortions with this decision in place.

In Texas, a trigger law will go into effect in the coming weeks that prohibits all abortions beginning at the moment of fertilization, except in rare cases to save the life of a pregnant patient or prevent “substantial impairment of major bodily function.”

“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the court’s opinion. Casey v. Planned Parenthood is the 1992 decision that affirmed Roe.

“The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely — the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment,” he added.

The U.S. Catholic bishops, who have supported a reversal of Roe, immediately reacted positively to the court’s decision that comes at the end of this year’s term.

“We give thanks to God for today’s decision ... This just decision will save countless innocent children simply waiting to be born,” said a June 24 statement by the New York Catholic bishops shortly after the court’s opinion was released.

Philadelphia Archbishop Nelson J. Perez tweeted that the decision “affirms deep value inherent in human life.”

Protesters were outside the court when the ruling came down, as they have been for days, anticipating it. Those on both sides of issue were also at the court when the document first leaked.

The Dobbs opinion is similar to the leaked draft that called Roe “egregiously wrong from the start.”

Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan wrote a joint dissent that said: “Whatever the exact scope of the coming laws, one result of today’s decision is certain: the curtailment of women’s rights, and of their status as free and equal citizens.”

They also noted that their dissent “with sorrow — for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection.”

advocates cry with joy

WASHINGTON (CNS) — In a 5-4 decision June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned its nearly 50-year-old decision in Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion in this country.